Parents File Emergency Request with Supreme Court in TJ Admissions Case

A coalition of parents, alumni and community members filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to vacate the Fourth Circuit’s stay in the coalition’s lawsuit challenging the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ).

The coalition’s lawsuit asserts that the admissions process specifically aims to reduce the number of Asian American students admitted to TJ in violation of their constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton agreed with the coalition and ordered a stop to the discriminatory policy. Last week, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted a stay of the district court’s decision, allowing TJ’s discriminatory admissions process to proceed.

“The Fourth Circuit’s decision to allow TJ’s discriminatory process to continue will cause significant harm to the students who are going through the admissions process for the next school year,” said Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Glenn Roper. “The district court decision found a clear constitutional violation, and we hope that the Supreme Court will agree that this stay should be vacated and the discriminatory process halted while the case proceeds.”

Thousands of eighth graders are checking their inboxes for an acceptance letter to TJ. Asian American applicants have extra reason to be anxious as TJ has already seen a decline in Asian American students since the admissions process was altered, thanks to a discriminatory process that treats them differently because of their race. Allowing this process to continue means even more Asian American students will be discriminated against during the application process.

The coalition’s request has been filed with Chief Justice John Roberts, who is assigned to supervise the Fourth Circuit. He can either rule on the request himself or refer it to the Supreme Court for a decision. A ruling in the coalition’s favor would reverse the Fourth Circuit’s stay and require the school to use a non-discriminatory admissions process while litigation continues.

The case is Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board.

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